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Credit: John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images

Theme Park News: Some 'epic' Universal Orlando news and the passing of a Disney legend

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Jul 30, 2019

Slot a morning meeting into the work calendar now, because you won’t want to miss this. Universal Orlando Resort is touting a very, very big announcement dropping Thursday morning, and if I were a betting woman, I’d push all my chips in for this one.

It's considered a near-certainty by theme park onlookers that Universal Orlando Resort will finally reveal its heavily rumored "third gate," aka its third theme park at its Floridian destination, which would be news of gigantic proportions. (Note: SYFY WIRE shares a parent company with Universal Orlando and has reached out for comment. We'll keep you updated if we hear anything.)

Well-versed fans know there’s already plenty of gossip surrounding what this hypothetical park could behold, but the official word would make it all real — not to mention suck some of the air out of Disney World's second Star Wars-themed land, which opens in Florida next month.

IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR (IN SPACE)

Walt Disney World will be expanding its offerings at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party this year at Magic Kingdom park. The ticketed event, which features themed snacks, entertainment, and snow falling down Main Street, U.S.A., will now boast themed "overlays" atop popular Tomorrowland attractions — including Space Mountain, the implications of which have broken my brain open. Not only does it mean there is Christmas in space (!), but with holiday tunes playing throughout the attraction, it implies the cosmos subscribe to the same Spotify playlists we do.

Am I thinking about this too much? Yes, of course, but at a theme park resort where the invented lore of its downtown shopping center could fill an urban planning novel, hypothetically slotting Mariah Carey’s best jams onto a rocket ride beyond the stratosphere is questionable, if not odd.

HEADING TO GALAXY’S EDGE? READ THIS FIRST.

We here at SYFY WIRE have plenty of advice on how to tackle the new Star Wars theme park land — don’t miss these easter eggs or hidden details! — but there's a new way to ensure you don't get shut out of Oga’s Cantina or Savi's Workshop: Handbuilt Lightsabers. Some important policies have recently changed, allowing you to reserve both experiences up to 14 days in advance, a time frame that will soon extend to 60 days.

Reading this on your way to the park? Disneyland will hold some inventory for that original 7 a.m. same-day reservation booking window for now. (We don't recommend walking up and winging it, for the time being.) Make sure you book early and keep checking back, especially if you happen to be hitting up D23 Expo 2019 next month or planning those fall break vacations.

Russi Taylor with Minnie Mouse and Roy O. Disney statues via Getty Images

Russi Taylor with Minnie Mouse and Roy O. Disney statues (Credit: Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

EVERYTHING ELSE THAT HAPPENED IN THE THEME PARK WORLD:

- Russi Taylor, who voiced Minnie Mouse and had a storied voice-over career, passed away last week. Proving true love is still alive, she was married to Wayne Allwine — the voice of Mickey Mouse — and the duo were together for nearly two decades, until his passing in 2009.

- Step aside, Pennywise. Following a delightful scare zone at Universal Studios Florida’s event last year, Killer Klowns From Outer Space will be getting a big look at Halloween Horror Nights on both coasts this year.

- Six Flags Fiesta Texas opened the Joker Carnival of Chaos, a ride I will absolutely never go on.

- Be sure to leave your heels at home — Universal Hollywood is hosting Jurassic World-themed 5K and 10K races this November.

- Why jump in the pool to cool off when you can go on Poland's insane water coaster instead?

- After years of setbacks, the long-awaited and newly renamed American Dream complex is finally set to open at New Jersey’s Meadowlands this fall, and local news outlets got an early look inside.


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